I actually started having Braxton Hicks on a nightly basis on Saturday night, but they were subsiding in time for me to get a few hours sleep. My friend recommended kraft mac n cheese with A1 sauce as a labor inducer, so we tried that Sunday night. My husband/John and I were taking super long walks every night to try and get things started because we were both so eager to meet our little one. By Monday, I was pretty cranky about my impatience, lack of sleep, and the pain of the false labors, so I didn’t feel like cooking dinner. I lobbied for Chinese takeout instead thinking that was another rumored labor inducer… not that I believe in any of that, but I was really ready to try anything. Contractions started, as always, after dinner, but I didn’t get my hopes up this time. I dozed off between 2-3 am, but woke up in pain (Yay!) at 3:40 am. They were painful and rhythmic, so I was very excited. I couldn’t fall back asleep, so I cleaned the kitchen, picked up around the house, and packed my bag for the Birth Center. Then, remembering nurse Peggy’s advice from class, I resisted running the vacuum and tackling the kitchen floor, so I could relax with a hot shower instead. The contractions were way less intense in the shower, so I stayed a long time. I tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t, so I started timing the contractions with husband’s phone. They were still taking about 25 sec to peak, so timing them accurately was hard for me, but I was about 45 sec long and 5 min. apart. When husband’s alarm went off at 7 am on his phone, I woke him up. I told him to call out of work because I had a carseat installation appointment at 9am, but he had to go instead of me because, “guess what!? I’m in labor!” He was obviously more than happy. I called the Birth Center next and told Katie the midwife what was going on. She told me I sounded great, confirmed my belief that it was finally happening, and advised I stay comfortable in my own home until I can’t bear talking to anyone even in between the contractions. I was all for staying home as long as possible because I didn’t want to be one of those typical first time Moms who shows up in ridiculous pain and still has a long way to go, so I was determined to stick it out. Next, I called my Mom since she would be my labor doula. After her initial, “OMG I’ll get in my car now, I don’t want to miss it!” reaction, we agreed I’d call her again when I needed her to come. I put on Les Mis in concert, so the music would soothe me, and John and I just hung out. At around noon, I was needing John to help me with the coping techniques I learned in class, and I decided it was time to need my Mom. John helped me time the contractions while I sat on my exercise ball and breathed through them. I remember he told me to imagine I was a passenger in a Monster Truck getting bounced around, and I just had to loosen up and enjoy the ride, which made me laugh but definitely helped. By the time my Mom got there, John/husband was walking me in laps around the apartment, and I was totally zoned out and concentrating on breathing and swinging my hips side to side. I kinda snapped out of it and became social for a bit while we watched more Les Mis, but the music wasn’t helping anymore. I kept having to hit the pause button to concentrate. Around 5pm, we decided to go for a walk, since we hadn’t been outside all day. The contractions were intense and painful, so I was swaying my hips with each step to give them room to work. My Mom kept saying how great I looked like I was doing, and I kept asking “well when is it not great enough for me to go into the birth center?” I was inpatient, but I still didn’t want to rush in too early and be disappointed with 2-3 cm or something. As we were walking, I passed a baby in a stroller, and I had my most painful contraction yet (I swear it was the cuteness of the baby = oxytocin). I knew I had just made progress because they started at less than 3 minute intervals and lasting almost 90 seconds. I called Katie again, and told her my update. She talked to me for a good 7 minutes without me having a single contraction, so she said I was more than welcome to come in, but I still sounded too happy and cheerful to be close. I decided to still stay home since I was very comfortable. We tried watching TV, but I was having to pause it. My husband and Mom were so patient waiting hours to get through a 30 min tv show that I picked out in the first place. I had 3 contractions in a row, hardly any breaks between, and then I had a string of 4. I decided I was definitely in transition, so I planned my next phone call to be during a contraction and I laid on my back, so it’d be the most painful. I was determined to not sound cheerful and happy! Katie heard me howling and told me to meet her at the Birth Center in 30 minutes to get checked. I’m lucky to only live 5 minutes away, and John was admirably calm driving me there. It was about 1am when I got checked, and I was so so so happy to be 8 cm along. I wanted to get in that tub, so as soon as my IV antibiotics were done and the tub was full, I got in and felt so much more relaxed right away. The contractions spaced out a bit, but I don’t think I felt time anymore anyways. I just floated it out changing positions and focusing on a paint chip on the wall. I definitely felt like I was in la la land because even making sentences or completing a thought was just not happening. I kept drinking lemon lime gatorade and trying to make conversation with my husband who was rubbing my back or stroking my hair. Katie told me to push when I felt like pushing, so I started out kinda slow and hesitant, but once she confirmed that I was “doing it right” I beared down harder. TMI: I puked a few times in the trash can which everyone reassured me was a good thing, and then I had a freak out moment of “nevermind, I don’t want to do this, I’m going home, see you guys later!” but I got past it because what else can you do? When I started to feel him moving over my pubic bone, he was moving forward with the push and then backwards again, so I was like wth is that!? but once I got an explanation, I tried to get him all the way past that point and stay there. I remember the midwife and nurse told me he was going to come sooner rather than later, and I felt relieved. Then I reached down and felt a baby head with his soft hair, but it was maybe the size of a penny that was showing. I remember someone asked if I wanted to lay on my back or side, and I said neither, got on my hands and knees, and started pushing as hard as I could. Husband sounded so excited cheering me on and even though he was supposed to catch, I needed him to stay by my head. I remember everyone saying they saw his head and I asked how much and they said it was the size of a quarter, and I felt like I could do better than that, so I pushed out the whole thing. Then they said “pause for the shoulders,” but I was just too darn excited to be almost done, so I pushed those out in one big push and a “HOLY Ff%^@$!” It was 5:56 am. I can’t remember what I was looking at or anything, but I heard them say “reach down and pick up your baby! You did it!!” and I looked down and he was this big purple ball and he felt so soft. The minute he hit air I heard him scream bloody murder and I was so happy. He turned pink, ok red, instantly. I thought we’d have to rub him to get him to cry or something, but this little guy was kicking and punching and yelling.
Peggy asked John what’s the sex, and we double checked that he was indeed a boy, so John got to say “IT’s a boy!” With A LOT of help I walked 3 feet to the bed holding my baby and laid down. They were drying me off and covering me with towels and my son was on my chest bopping his head around and screaming with his eyes wide open. I was so tired I felt like saying “dude, chill…” but I knew he wanted a nipple, so I tried to guide him. John was trying to help him latch on too, but we were just so shocked with happiness and exhausted. I put the blanket they gave me around him, and they put a hat on him, so he’d be warm and just couldn’t get over how active my baby was. John cut his cord and held my hand while I got a few stitches. Baby John had his first physical, his first breastfeeding, and his erithromyocin and vitamin K shot. Then the Grandparents all came in and held him. I had my physical, saw the placenta (I was curious, but it wasn’t exciting), and got my discharge instructions and was so ready to go home and cuddle up in my bed with my new family. We left at 12:30 and Mom Dad and Baby fell asleep right away when we got home. I’m proud to say that at our home visit 2 days later, Baby John had only gone from 8lb 3oz to 8lb, and he got rave reviews for his health He’s the best baby I’ve ever met, and I’m more in love with him every day.